African Americans Receive Their Own Food Pyramid


African Americans have a higher risk of obtaining type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease than other races in North America. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

To help African Americans improve their health and eating habits, Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization along with an advisory team of experts, recently unveiled The African Heritage Diet Pyramid. Diet details are featured in the November issue of Food Nutrition & Science.

According to Oldways, the Pyramid celebrates the individual foods and the traditional healthy eating patterns of African Heritage, with roots in America, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America.

"While this diet is targeted to a certain population, what we've seen with other cultural diets like the Mediterranean is that various ethnicities will try it out for health and food variety reasons," says Phil Lempert founder of Food Nutrition & Science and CEO of The Lempert Report and "This gives retailers a great opportunity to merchandise their store in a way that supports the diet and results in increased sales."

Traditional African Heritage meals are based on an abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens; tubers like sweet potatoes; beans of all kinds; nuts and peanuts; rice, flatbreads and other grain foods, especially whole grains; healthy oils; homemade sauces and marinades of herbs and spices; fish, eggs, poultry and yogurt; and minimal consumption of meat and sweets.

Eating like your ancestors may reduce the risk of heart disease, blood pressure, stoke, diabetes, reduce weight, lower risk and manage diabetes, and reduce depression.

For more information on the Oldways program and the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, visit